As an English Education professor, I’m involved in an organization called the National Council of Teachers of English. This organization is dedicated to “improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education”. Over the past 20 years, I’ve attended its conferences, subscribed to its publications, and used the many resources and networking opportunities that NCTE offers. Simply put, NCTE is my professional home and I’m a much better professor and researcher because of it.
One of NCTE’s initiatives is the National African American Read-In, a groundbreaking effort to encourage communities to read together, centering African American books and authors. Established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of NCTE to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. Today, this initiative has reached more than 6 million participants around the world.
As the director of Hope College’s NEA Big Read Lakeshore, an annual community-wide reading program that involves over 10,000 participants, I’m excited about anything that encourages people to read together and to read books and authors that they might not otherwise encounter.
To this end, I invite you to center African American books and authors with me during Black History Month. As we prepare for Kwame Alexander’s virtual visit to Hope College at the end of the month, I encourage you to read our AARI recommended texts. In the weeks to come, we’ll be featuring recommended books and authors from our partner organizations as well as some of our own.
Today, we’re thrilled to share some book recommendations from our friends in the Black Student Union at Hope College.
In this book, Emmanuel Acho creates a dialogue that is honest, straightforward, and accessible to those seeking answers. This is a conversation that needs to happen to mend the racial divide in our world.
In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypertextualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.
This micro- and macro-analysis of economic conditions in the black community explores why African Americans earn only 61 percent of white American income, why many African Americans prefer to maintain a “good job” rather than own and operate their own businesses, and why African American consumers only spend 3 percent of their $600 billion in African American businesses. Topics covered include present and historical analysis, foreign economic success, the global economy, obstacles to development, and black consumers and entrepreneurs.
I’m Judging You dissects our cultural obsessions and calls out bad behavior in our increasingly digital, connected lives. With a lighthearted, rapier wit and a unique perspective, it’s the handbook the world needs now, doling out the hard truths and a road map for bringing some “act right” to our popular culture, social media, and our lives.
In this universally accessible New York Times bestseller named for her wildly popular web series, Issa Rae—“a singular voice with the verve and vivacity of uncorked champagne” (Kirkus Reviews)—waxes humorously on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits and black as cool.
Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. Comedian Phoebe Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years. Now, she’s ready to take these topics to the page—and she’s going to make you laugh as she’s doing it. As personal as it is political, You Can’t Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.
Womanist Midrash is an in-depth and creative exploration of the well- and lesser-known women of the Hebrew Scriptures. Using her own translations, Gafney offers a midrashic interpretation of the biblical text that is rooted in the African American preaching tradition to tell the stories of a variety of female characters, many of whom are often overlooked and nameless. Gafney employs a solid understanding of womanist and feminist approaches to biblical interpretation and the sociohistorical culture of the ancient Near East. This unique and imaginative work is grounded in serious scholarship and will expand conversations about feminist and womanist biblical interpretation.
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.